Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

LEADER Programmes

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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34. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the initial total allocation made available to Ireland from pillar II of the CAP under the LEADER heading 2014 to 2020; the amount drawn down to date from the EU of this allocation; and if outstanding EU funds which may remain can be used in the transition period to the next programme in 2023. [43981/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The LEADER programme, which is co-financed by the European Commission under Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has a total budget of €250 million over the programming period 2014-2020.

€225 million of this funding has been allocated as core funding to each of the individual Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver LEADER. The remaining €25 million is available for schemes to be delivered at a national level and is allocated as projects are approved.

As of 13 December 2020, expenditure under the 2014-2020 LEADER programme stood at approximately €125 million. This includes payments in respect of completed projects and the administration costs of the LAGs.

It is important to recognise that LEADER is a multi-annual programme and that payments in respect of projects which are approved in any given year are generally not drawn down until subsequent years, as they are completed. Project promoters have until the end of 2023 to complete their approved works and submit claims for payment.

Yesterday, I announced details of the Transitional LEADER programme, which will come into effect from 1stApril 2021. The LAGs can work on identifying potential projects from 1stJanuary next.

I also announced some flexibilities to the current LEADER programme, including extending the deadline for commitments to the end of March 2021 to facilitate the remaining allocation of funds available.

During the Transitional Programme, Local Action Groups will also be allowed to recommit un-used funding from the 2014-2020 period due, for example, to underspends or projects not proceeding.


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